The UK government’s policy of sending some illegal immigrants to Rwanda seems to have begun to discourage people from crossing the British Strait into the UK, but could encourage illegal immigrants to take a more dangerous route. The highest civil servant of the Ministry of Interior said it was sexual.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced on April 14 that anyone who illegally invaded Britain, including those crossing the British Straits in small boats, could move to the African country of Rwanda. The British government said the move was needed to stop trafficking.
Matthew Lycroft, the ministry’s secretary-general, told the MP on June 22 that the number of illegal waterway crossings has not increased as much as the Interior Ministry’s forecast this year since the policy was announced.
“It is possible that some deterrent effect has already begun,” said Lycroft, who appeared before the Home Affairs Select Committee of the House of Commons.
“It’s more than last year, but it’s already a bit less than it was before it was announced,” he said.
But he added, “it’s too early to say whether it’s due to Rwandan policy or the weather.”
More dangerous route
The best civil servants acknowledged that policies could change the pattern of illegal immigrants and urged smugglers to try new routes to the UK, which are even more dangerous than the current routes.
He states: “I agree that we need to think about illegal immigrants in general and all the different routes. If this set of policies succeeds in closing the routes for small boats, it will be a Pyrrhic victory, but something more. It’s dangerous. It’s not a victory at all, so you need to make sure you’re thinking about this in the round. “
No illegal immigrants have yet been deported to Rwanda after the first planned flight landed with the intervention of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR).
Interior Minister Priti Patel said the ECHR’s intervention was “disappointing and surprising,” but the government remains “committed to this policy.”
Commenting on reports of interior ministry officials refusing to implement the policy, Lycroft told the MP: “If the government at the time decides on that policy, it doesn’t matter if civil servants think about it.”
He said civil servants were “here to serve the officially elected government at the time.”
PA Media contributed to this report.